Lycos Ads Are Fetching--in More Ways Than One

Advertiser: Lycos Inc.

Agency: Bozell Worldwide, New York

Challenge: Create an identity for Lycos, an Internet search site.

The Ads: TV spots feature a smart, obedient black Labrador retriever named Lycos, who speedily fetches random items at his master’s command. In one commercial, Lycos retrieves a pair of flippers and a hot rod after reading signs that say “island vacations” and “autos.” When shown a sexy photo of supermodel Claudia Schiffer, Lycos dashes off. A Lycos logo and Internet address appear on the screen as viewers hear a voice-over from Schiffer: “Hi, I’m Claudia.” Lycos’ master is pleased. “Lycos,” he says off-screen. “Good boy!” Other ads show Lycos fetching dinosaur bones, investment advice and other offbeat items.


Comment: Though not the largest, Lycos is making a bid to become known as the fastest search site on the World Wide Web. And rather than confound viewers with complex information, Lycos used a lovable dog to draw a visual analogy almost anyone can understand. Before beginning the $25-million advertising campaign last month, Lycos spent two years conducting consumer research that led to a redesign of its site, which Lycos says makes it easier for people to find information on the Web. Lycos timed the start of the ad campaign to the launch of the improved site Oct. 19. Jan Horsfall, Lycos marketing vice president, says results are encouraging. Hits to Lycos’ home page are up 60%, and Lycos has climbed to second place from seventh in Internet World’s ratings of search sites. Clearly, the ads are clicking with Web surfers. $$$$


Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being highest.